I had forgotten how much I love the process of recording, how a song comes to life with the arrangement. Many a good song has got lost in a poor arrangement; many a poor song has been saved by a strong arrangement.
Recording Couldn’t Love You I wanted to end with harmonies on the fade, the hook, but as they sounded good decided to open the song with them as well, but just acapella and it works.
I love light and shade in a song, in the arrangement and yet sometimes something pure and simple is just enough.
David Gates was a major influence for me. I was shocked to hear on the radio the other day a song he had out in 1958, before even I was born, and that’s saying something! It was still distinctively him though, the voice.
He is of course a highly respected songwriter now, his songs, deceptively simple – the hits he is best known for are of course If, Everything I own and my personal favourite Make It With You but on his debut solo album there was a track, very long, Suite; Clouds, Rain that has stayed with me.
David Gates: http://youtu.be/d4pIyi3UtDU
I was fortunate enough to buy him a sake one night at a restaurant, thanking him for his music and inspiration.
When I first moved to California many moons ago there was a Japanese restaurant in Santa Barbara called Somethings Fishy! Great name for a sushi bar. It was opposite one of my record stores and I would go in after their busy lunchtime and sit and eat with them. This was the restaurant I met him in.
Sushi is a bit like marmite I think, you either hate it or love it, no in-between. It has to be very fresh but I do love it, (hence one of our cats is called Sushi).
Somethings Fishy became well known as it was the last restaurant John Belushi and Robin Williams went to on that fateful night that ended with Belushi’s untimely death ninety miles away at the Chateau Marmont on the Strip in LA. The pair had been in and eaten and then drove back to LA.
I used to love the teppanyaki table where the chefs throw their knives in the air and stab customers! Just kidding, but you could end up sitting next to anyone. I think there’s a Friends episode when Ross takes a new girlfriend to one and ends up sitting next to his ex-wife!
It’s nice to see sushi in the UK at supermarkets now.
Gates also provided the music for a couple of movies. Television is the important medium today for breaking a new artists, securing a sync deal for a TV show, Criminal Minds, Grey’s Anatomy and the like.
I heard a great band on a show the other day, Switchfoot, an American Christian band. The song was ‘Your Love is a Song’, check it out below.
It worked so well with the dialogue and scene. The lyrics really suit the last story in the new trilogy of short stories of mine, Sleeping with your Eyes Open – “I’ve been keeping my eyes wide open.”
Another great song is This Time I’ll be Sweeter by the wonderful, beautiful and perhaps somewhat underrated Linda Lewis. Her catalogue is being remastered I believe, albums such as I’m Not a Little Girl Anymore; her voice on This Time literally gives me goose bumps, every time I hear it, an incredible five octave range voice, but so emotional. And did I mention she’s gorgeous?!?
Linda Lewis: http://youtu.be/kwkaWDvs9BQ
Her albums are available now!